Southeast Asia: More Indonesian License Suspensions; Kalbe’s Aventis Share Purchase; Boston Scientific’s Malaysia Expansion


The biggest pharma stories from Southeast Asia, including GSK’s new HPF manufacturing investment, license suspensions for Samco Farma and Ciubros Farma after Indonesia’s acute kidney injury crisis, Kalbe’s Aventis share purchase, China-based MGI Tech’s participation in Thailand’s genomics initiative and Boston Scientific’s expanded operations in Malaysia.


GSK invests SGD 44 million in Singapore manufacturing facility for cancer treatment (BioSpectrum Asia)

GSK has invested SGD 44 million in a new high potency facility (HPF) at its long-existing site in Jurong, Singapore. The HPF will be used to produce  a cytotoxic component, in antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) to treat cancer and will be the first of its kind in Singapore

“The opening of GSK’s new facility demonstrates how global healthcare companies can tap on Singapore’s world-class infrastructure and talent to deliver innovative new products,” said Jacqueline Poh, Managing Director of the Singapore Economic Development Board.


Singapore-headquartered biotech, MiRXES, unveils APAC’s first T10 ultra-high throughput sequencing platform (BioSpectrum Asia)

MiRXES, a Singapore-based biotechnology company, has unveiled its DNBSEQ-T10×4RS Genetic Sequencing System (T10).  The T10 sequencing platform is the first of its kind to be installed and become operational in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, outside of China and was made possible through a strategic partnership between MiRXES, MGI, and BGI-Research.

MiRXES plans to partner with local research and healthcare institutions as well as pharmaceutical and biotech companies to scale the positive impact of genomics for Singapore and the region.


China’s Silk Road Fund to invest in state-owned Indonesian pharma firms (Reuters)

In a deal worth about USD 120 million, China’s Silk Road Fund (SRF) and Indonesia’s INA sovereign fund (INA) are set to invest in two state-owned Indonesian pharmaceuticals companies, PT Kimia Farma Tbk (KAEF.JK) and its PT Kimia Farma Apotek unit. According to Indonesia’s deputy minister for state-owned enterprises, Pahala Mansury, the investment partnership will improve the pharma companies’ digital services and product development.


After child deaths from acute kidney injury, Indonesia suspends licences of two more companies (Reuters)

Indonesia’s food and drug agency (BPOM) has suspended the licences of two more local drug companies, Samco Farma and Ciubros Farma, who produce syrup-based medicines, as authorities continue to investigate the deaths of nearly 200 children due to acute kidney injury.

After identifying the presence in some syrup-based products of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycolhe, the country temporarily banned sales of thes medications in October. The two ingredients are used as a cheaper alternative to glycerine, a solvent or thickening agent in many cough syrups. They can be toxic and lead to acute kidney injury.


Thailand’s Roadmap for Genomic Medicine supported by MGI Tech (BioSpectrum Asia)

China-based MGI Tech has announced that it will provide its products in support of the sequencing of the genomes of 50,000 Thai people over the next five years as part of the Genomics Thailand Initiative.

Aimed at improving Thailand’s public health system and strengthening its competitiveness in genomic medicine, the initiative’s research will provide a better understanding of Thai citizens’ unique genomic makeup and serve as the foundation for developing personalized diagnostics, drug selection and treatment in the fields of cancer, infectious diseases, rare and undiagnosed diseases, non-communicable diseases and pharmacogenomic diseases.


Kalbe’s Aventis share purchase agreement  (Company website)

Indonesian pharma company Kalbe recently announced the completion of a share purchase agreement with Sanofi Aventis Participations.  With the fulfillment of the conditions of the share purchase agreement, Kalbe has effectively acquired 100 percent ownership of PT Aventis Pharma.

According to the company “Kalbe and Sanofi will continue to collaborate both in manufacturing and supply of products to the Indonesian market through a long-term commitment in all aspects of distribution and licensing between Kalbe and Sanofi.  Therefore, we will strengthen the product categories that are well aligned with Kalbe’s portfolio, particularly in the focus therapeutic classes such as diabetes and cardiovascular, as well as access to vaccines as part of our growth strategy,”said Vidjongtius, President Director of Kalbe.


Boston Scientific expands operations in Malaysia (BioSpectrum Asia)

Boston Scientific has announced its plans to expand its operations in Batu Kawan, Penang, Malaysia. The expansion will include a 110,000 square foot global distribution centre, which will be the company’s third global distribution centre and the first located in Asia. Penang will ship medical devices within Malaysia and around the world and serve as a hub for the firm’s Asia Pacific markets.

Boston Scientific already  has had a strong manufacturing presence in Penang and more than 7 million of its medical devices have been produced there this year, including diagnostic and therapeutic technologies such as biopsy forceps, balloon angioplasty products and laser fibers.


Malaysian digital health startup Qmed Asia pursues APAC expansion (BioSpectrum Asia)

Malaysian startup Qmed Asia has announced its expansion into Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Cambodia to introduce digital health solutions in the region.

The company recently signed two memoranda of understanding (MoU) with Taiwanese companies, Eucare Co Ltd and Ubestream Inc and has partnered with one of Indonesia’s leading insurance providers to launch its mobile live queue solution for local hospitals.

Previously, Qmed Asia participated in the Vietnam Start-Up Day competition and was among the top five out of 150 international participants from 32 countries and signed an MoU with MeetDoctor, a digital health platform oin Cambodia.

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